We all want to save money, but it’s soooo hard! Why? Because we are tempted with so many things in society—new gadgets, clothes, makeup, restaurants, etc. And when you’re not paying attention to what you’re spending, you end up saving almost nothing. The problem most of us have is spending little amounts of money daily without noticing that they are ending up being big amounts collectively. A $5 coffee before work every morning is $20 a week, or $80 a month. A night out with girlfriends can get to $100 fast, while spending money on spas can be as much as $200-$400 a month, depending on how many times a week you go and what services you get. But have no fear, there are some great money-saving hacks you can practice without feeling like you are depriving yourself of everything you love. The key is, and has always been, moderation and attention.
15 Make Your Own Cards
How many cards do you buy a year? It seems we are required to send birthday cards, holidays cards, get well cards, miss you cards, anniversary cards, Valentine’s Day cards, and many more. If you haven’t checked the prices of cards, well, they are expensive and they add up, especially when you have to send out multiple cards for each loved one. Cards can be anywhere from $5-$15. Buy a box set for the holidays and you’re looking at $30 just for that. Thankfully, there are many DIY ways to make cards, and they are fairly easy. Not to mention, recipients will love the fact that your cards are personal and you took the time to think of them. Anyone can run to the store and buy a generic card, but when you make it, your friends and family will be more likely to keep and treasure it. And you’ll be saving money.
14 Set Weekly Money Allowances
If you do not make goals, you will never know how much money you are spending. It is easy to swipe our credit cards here and there for small amounts without paying attention, but they definitely add up. Sometimes we spend $60 alone on lunch throughout the week. Then add coffee, groceries, hygiene products, household items and you could be spending $200 a week without even realizing it. Every Sunday set an amount that you will allow yourself to spend that week. Write it down on paper and make a breakdown if you like. Then, track your purchases by writing them down or keeping the receipts. When you set financial goals, it is much easier to stick to them, plus you will feel responsible and accomplished. If you want to be really ambitious, try to spend less than your goal and save that money for the next week. It might be hard at first bu you'll be surprised at how good you become!
13 Organize Your Closet
Often we have so many wardrobe items that we are switching year-round due to the weather that we don’t realize what we have anymore. Go through your closet and pick out the staples first. Jeans, sweaters, plain tees, scarves, and booties can go with anything. Organize them by color, season, pattern, or item—whatever works for you—and put them back in the closet. Start adding other items that you love, and actually wear and can pair with your staples. You are bound to find clothing you forgot you had and therefore will be less likely to buy new clothes. Get creative and build outfits by pairing different articles of clothing together. Some people even take pictures of their outfits so they remember exactly what they liked. Then, give away the clothes you don’t wear. You’re less likely to have the urge to buy new clothes when your closet is organized and you know exactly what you have.
12 Leave Your Credit Cards At Home
Credit cards are dangerous because we don’t feel like we are actually spending our own money, and it’s just so darn easy to swipe it. You also don’t feel the effects until 30 days later when you have to pay it back. But anyone will tell you that racking up debt is a no-no. You work hard for your money, and when you see it instantly taken out of your bank account, you are less likely to overspend. Also, you can’t spend what you don’t have. So make it a habit of leaving your credit cards at home and only use your debit card when making purchases. Not only will you conveniently have all the same charges on one statement for easy calculation, but you won’t have to worry about paying interest on debt you really can’t afford. Less financial stress is always a good thing and something to strive for.
11 Shop At Discount Stores First
You can find everything you need at discount stores for a fraction of the price. Ever been to Century 21 department stores? They have everything from household goods to baby clothes, to women’s high-end fashion. And the best part is that some things are as much as 75 percent off. You will have to deal with crowds unless you go very earlier, but that’s all part of the price for saving big bucks, and it’s worth it. Go there at the end of a season and you will find amazing deals that can be as much as 90 perfect off! Many discount stores have online shopping as well, so if you can’t make it to the shop, try their website. Smart shoppers know that there’s no reason to spend their whole paycheck on the newest fashions when discount stores offer the same clothes for a much cheaper price. They even have makeup, men’s clothing, and shoes. All in one never sounded better.
10 Buy Generic Household Items
Let’s face it, some things you can buy generic and notice absolutely no difference. It’s all about reading reviews and trying it out for yourself. With a little effort, you’ll discover items that are much cheaper with the same quality. For example, if you buy the drugstore “cotton tips” instead of the brand name Q-Tips, you will notice no difference. Same goes for certain household cleaners and even makeup. Drugstore lip-gloss can be identical to the expensive stuff you’re buying at Sephora. But other things you should splurge on. Some expensive bottled water is worth it because it provides a high pH and contributes to your health. Same goes for pricey foundation which can keep your skin clog-free and provide SPF. So do a little research before you buy and know which items you wouldn’t miss if you went with the store version. You’ll end up saving far more than you know.
9 List Your Debt And Tape It To Your Mirror
Sometimes when we have a lot of debt, we’re in denial about the number because we just don’t want to know. But this just leads to more spending, more stress, and even more debt. In order to save money and reduce costs, you must be willing to face the numbers. So make a list of everything you owe, and tape it to a place you will see every day. If it’s always in the front of your mind, you will make better decisions on how you spend your money on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll end up skipping the morning coffee in order to save a few bucks, or you’ll realize that paying the minimums on your credit card isn’t doing much to help you eradicate your debt. Be positive and be proactive. Accept that you got yourself in a hole, and now figure out clever ways to dig yourself out.
8 Pack A Lunch Tuesday-Thursday
You can’t eat out every day if you want to save money. Even though it’s tempting to leave for lunch to get out of the office, you must pack a lunch a few days a week to reduce your spending. It easiest to do this during the week. Mondays always suck, so having that nice eat-out moment is something we look forward to. So allow yourself Monday to get out of the office. Then, look forward to eating out again on Friday by packing a lunch for the middle-of-the-week days. And when you’re eating your lunch in the office three days a week, calculate your savings and mark it down. It’s all going towards your spending goal that you set on Sunday. Make eating in the office fun by packing snacks that you really love. And don’t forget to include a note to yourself that reads, “You just saved $____.” Yes, it works.
7 Take The Subway
If you live in a city like NYC, and you don’t have a metro card, shame on you. For $2.75, you can get just about everywhere. Taking cabs and car service is by far one of the most expensive things you will do every day. You can easily spend $50 a day by going to and from work! So if you must take cars, try out other services that offer a flat rate or a car-sharing ride. Yes, you share with other people, but it’s much more affordable than paying for a private ride everywhere you go. And if it’s not rush hour, you might not even have anyone else join you in the car. Also, consider taking your bike if the weather permits. It’s free and you’ll get in your workout for the day. You’ll also be helping the environment, something we should all be thinking about in this day and age.
6 Drink The Coffee At Work
If you work in an office, or just about anywhere with a roof, chances are they will have a coffee machine for employee use. It may not be the Frappuccino you’re used to at Starbucks, but when you’re trying to save money, you can’t be too picky. And let’s be honest, coffee is coffee. And coffee is better than no coffee. Just think about the $5 you’re saving every day. If you’re drinking 2 cups a day, that’s $10 a day, or $200 a month. It adds up quickly. And when you’re getting coffee, you’re probably grabbing a banana or a croissant half of the time. So that equals to more money. Other benefits of skipping the local coffee shop include the fact that you can leave the house later in the morning since you don’t have to calculate your coffee run into the time. That means more sleep. Yes, more sleep. Sold.
5 Buy A Jar Of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has so many amazing uses, but here are some of the best. It dissolves all kinds of makeup, waterproof or not. A small amount goes a long way. Rub it all over your face and wipe off with a tissue. Voila! Coconut oil also makes an amazing moisturizer for your dry skin and hair. Use at night since it is oily and wake up with baby soft skin. It also works well in the kitchen. No butter? Trying to be healthy? Use coconut oil took cook just about anything. It tastes great and can be added to just about everything. It has amazing health qualities when ingested, and can even be used to fight infections and fungus. So do not be afraid to experiment. Use topically and internally. All this for an $8 jar of coconut oil. With all its uses, you probably just saved $100 or more.
4 Exercise At Home
If you have a gym membership that you rarely use, cancel it. Chances are you can do the same exercises in the gym in your building or by using an app. You can now subscribe to apps for a very low monthly cost and they will personalize your workout. You also have the convenience of doing the workout in your own home at any time you please. We often don’t get in our weekly workouts because we don’t have the time to go to the gym. When you incorporate exercises at home, you are more likely to stick to a schedule, not to mention save the costly gym fees that you rarely use. If you don’t want to buy an app, think of other creative ways to exercise. Some of the most fun exercises involve getting outdoors or interacting with friends. Go for hikes, bike rides, walk, or even run with family or friends. Let them know your goals to save money so they will encourage you.
3 Shop On Amazon
If you see something you want to buy, chances are it’s on Amazon…for less. And if you have a Prime membership, you’ll receive free shipping and get your item in 2 days. It also saves you time since you don’t have to physically go to the store. Sometimes we are so used to going to a specific store for what we need, that we don’t check to see if it’s listed online for a cheaper price. But nowadays, Amazon has almost everything in every category. In fact, they have food items that can’t be found in stores, and makeup you might have loved when you found it being sold abroad. You’ll be very surprised if you do a quick search of what you’re looking for and find out they actually have it. But soon after you’ll get used to the fact that you should always check online first before heading to the store. Even if you’re in a store, check online because you will probably find out it’s listed for a lower price.
2 Visit The Farmer’s Market
Yes, you can eat healthy and still save money, even though most people don’t know this or were taught that healthy food is expensive. When you visit and purchase food from farmer's markets, you help the local community thrive and you eat the best food for your body. You can also get really good deals on the fresh produce. Some farmer’s markets even take food stamps for people who are on welfare. When you stock up on fresh food, you are also less likely to splurge on fast food or take out during the week. You’ll be able to pack your lunches with delicious food that you will actually eat. Do a search online and find out just where the local market is near you and visit it to figure out what foods are in your weekly budget. If you plan your meals out for the week, you’ll save big bucks.
1 Get A Savings Account
Get a separate bank account, if you don’t have one, and put some money aside every month. If you can afford to put 10 percent of your paycheck into your savings account, go for it. If you can do more, even better. When we put money into another account, it’s out of sight and we feel like we don’t have it. That’s the goal. You’re more likely to save money when you do this than if you just keep your money in the account you use on a daily basis. Also, tell yourself that you will not dip into your savings account no matter what. You must be disciplined to actually want to save money in order for this, and all the other listed suggestions, to work. But when you are, and you follow a large list like this one, in a few months you’ll be astonished at how your finances have changed.